Friday, August 10, 2018

Robert Redford retires finally

So Robert Redford's announced he's retiring.  Should have happened decades ago.

He hasn't made a great film since 1975's THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR and 1976's ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN.  He is not a great actor and never was.  He was a passable leading man.

Or, he was a passable leading man up until around 1983.

The women opposite him got younger and he just looked older.  We didn't need LEGAL EAGLES.  We didn't need HAVANA.  We didn't need INDECENT PROPOSAL.  I could go on and on.

As the looks faded, he began wearing that ratty wig.  We are supposed to believe, at 82, that's his thick (and ratty) and natural blond hair?  Don't make me laugh.

Paul Newman was an actor and a leading man.  Redford was just a leading man.  It's why he never won an Academy Award for acting.

If he'd ended his career in the 70s, he would have still had charisma and some strong films -- including THE WAY WE WERE.  But he kept on going and he was just an embarrassment.  He can't act strong enough to deserve being cast in anything.

When he had his looks, he was cast because he was good looking.  But he never was cast because he was a great actor.  I think he damaged his reputation by continuing to make movies.  OUR SOULS AT NIGHT really was the last straw.  He reteamed with Jane Fonda and she's giving a performance that's measured and new and daring.  Him? He's playing romantic teen wounded.  The same performance he's given forever.  It wasn't fresh or inventive in the 70s but he still had his looks.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursday, August 9, 2018.  As the US government attempts to install Hayder al-Abadi for a second term as prime minister, is Hayder's little world falling apart?

XINHUA reports:

Four Iraqi soldiers were killed and five others injured in an overnight attack by Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq's central province of Salahudin, a provincial security source said on Thursday.
Fierce clashes erupted late on Wednesday night when IS militants attacked an army outpost in the rugged area of Mteibijah near Salahudin's eastern provincial border with neighboring Diyala province, Major Alaa al-Saadi, from Diyala Operations Command, told Xinhua.

Early in the morning, reinforcement troops arrived to the area and began an operation to hunt down the attackers who fled the scene under the dark, Saadi said.

So much for Hayder al-Abadi's defeat of ISIS.  He thought he could run for re-election that (false) claim and that the Iraqi people would rush to vote for him.  That is not how it turned out.  He came in third.  Third.  The sitting prime minister came in third.  He did not end corruption.  He did not end ISIS.  He did not do anything.

Elections were May 12th and Iraq has still not formed a government.  Behind the scenes, the US, via Special Envoy Brett McGurk, is up to its usual tricks.

Elijah J Magnier offers:

Iraq paid $100 million of Iranian debts but is faced with the US sanctions on Iran. Iraq, under Abadi, would like to abide by the US measures. Sources in the office of the Prime Minister said “the US is trying to substitute the Iranian supply of electricity by putting pressure on two main neighbouring countries (Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) to support Iraq with its basic needs and inviting them to offer their structural capabilities to Abadi offering electricity in exchange of oil. The aim is to push Iran away and limit its influence in Mesopotamia”.
Indeed, US Ambassadors based in the Middle East and the US special presidential envoy to Iraq Brett McGurk are doing their best to convince Gulf countries of the necessity to support Haidar Abadi and Moqtada al-Sadr and promote these so they can gain power in the new government selected, and stand against Iran and its allies in Iraq. They are asking neighbouring countries (rather than Iran) to provide Iraq with electricity so that the Iranian economy does not benefit.
“US envoy Brett McGurk visited us in Baghdad and asked us to support Moqtada and Abadi in one coalition to re-elect the actual prime minister. We told him that Moqtada al-Sadr is unpredictable and can’t be considered reliable. Your (US) policy in Iraq has never been successful and your choices are not in our interest” said the highest two political Sunni authorities in Iraq visited by the US envoy. Ambassador McGurk, said the sources, apparently didn’t like this unexpected answer: if Iraqi leaders don’t abide by the US’s” recommendations”, he threatened reprisals.
“We told Ambassador Brett that if he is threatening us he will receive no collaboration from our side and will create a negative outcome for all”, said the sources. And the Sunni are not the only ones refusing to support Moqtada and Abadi. The US envoy visited Kurdistan and received similar answers from the Kurdish leaders.
The US is also calling upon Shia party leaders, especially Sayyed Ammar al-Hakim, who seems the most docile of all those contacted, and shows himself very willing to collaborate.
It seems the chances of Haidar Abadi of renewing his mandate for another four years are becoming slimmer by the minute. Iran and its allies, or perhaps the anti-US parties in Iraq among Shia, Sunni and Kurds, are prevailing. There was a time when both Iran and the US agreed on the same candidate, the actual Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi. Today, the US has declared economic war on Iran to cripple its capabilities, affecting the Iranian people and its local currency. The embargo will seriously begin in August and will intensify in November.

On the US sanctions, yesterday some tried to claim Hayder was 'outraged.'  No.  A puppet doesn't show outrage.  REUTERS summed up his meek response correctly.

Link to headline article

He's hoping for a second term as prime minister that the US government is trying to get for him.  The voters don't want him.  He's not going to bite the hand that feeds him.

And people try to tell me that is not an American occupied land? and | Iraq | al-Abadi Disagrees With U.S. Sanctions Reimposed on Iran But Will Abide With via

Abadi shows he is a real stooge for the ,neglecting 's economy and citizens' wellfare just to keep enjoying support.

Poor Hayder al-Abadi.  He seemed such a shoe-in to the US government.

Despite coming in third in May’s election, Abadi was seen as having a good chance of keeping his seat. Now, other names are being tossed around including a member of his own party. A serious miscalculation by the US.

Having done nothing for years, he suddenly develops a whimsical interest in fighting corruption in July.  Two for show moves did nothing to enhance his reputation, so this month, he tries another move.

BREAKING: Al-Hadath reporter: |i PM Abadi dismisses number of managers at Ministry of Electricity

Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) reports:

Iraq is investigating over 5,000 cases of corruption, many of which involve or implicate senior government officials.
Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi said late on Tuesday night that the Integrity Commission, a government body tasked with fighting corruption, is currently investigating the thousands of cases involving ministers and high ranking officials.
The premier referred several ministers to the commission to investigate allegations of fraud in government education contracts.
Lack of good governance and transparency has been at the heart of the country's problems, with international bodies ranking Iraq on lists of failing states.
Iraq is ranked 169 of 180 states for corruption states in Transparency International’s corruption perception index, with the lowest being the most corrupt.
Mr Al Abadi vowed that his government will “use all available tools to hold to account all those who engage in corrupt practices.”

After his term is over, after protests take to the streets in July, Hayder finally finds corruption?  For four years he was prime minister and did nothing about corruption.  Now, as he tries desperately to hold onto to his post, he's suddenly interested in corruption?

: PM Haider al-Abadi refers three former ministers to the Commission of Integrity for 2011 bad school contracts. Nice. But here is the scandal: keep reading please...(1)
  • The three former ministers in question are not part of any strong political bloc now — making this act a classic cheap shot. (2)
    If PM Abadi is really interested in going after bad school contracts & deliberate destruction of ’s K-12, he should go after his fellow-Dawa Party Mr. Khodail al-Khozaei. (3)
    Also, does PM Abadi think Iraqis, particularly the protestors, are fools enough to fall for this appearance of being anti-corruption? Why not go after his own corrupt ministers, who failed to keep their contract with Iraqis in the past 4 years? (4)
  • PM Abadi personally protected his incompetent Minister of Electricity form a parliamentary questioning that would’ve exposed the horrors in the ministry & give Iraqis a chance of a better replacement. All subsequent MoE failure is equally on PM Abadi. (5)
  • PM Abadi is still sitting on dozens of bigger & more significant corruption cases, in services, foreign relations, security, etc., which are hanging fruits. He just lacks the courage & transparency to expose people with clout. (6)
  • Why not go after the current & previous Trade Ministers, who failed to provide good-faith supply food ration to Iraqis & expose the bad contracts, the poor quality items (sometimes are illegal to export even y ’s lax standards)? (7)
  • Why not go after the current Minister of Transportation, on whose watch Iraqi pilots engage in fist-fights 30,000ft in the sky, exposing lives to danger? Not to mention, of course the sorry state of ports, airports, etc., where corruption is rampant? (8)
  • Why not go after his government’s cumbersome bureaucracy, which runs Iraq in the same way it was run during the Ottoman Empire? It’s so bad that millions of $$$ are legally & illegally extorted from Iraqis going to govt offices: local & federal. (9)
  • Why not go after bad defense contracts, where $billions were squandered, while Iraqi security firces are still under-equipped, poorly trained & not well-led? (10)
  • Why not go after the outrageous grab of public land & state-owned property, which was taken by parties, influential politicians & other big fish: mostly illegally, or legalized by laughable means? (11)
  • Why not go after leading politicians & other big fish in Islamist parties who continue to destroy per-college education to draft people to go to the schools they own? Or maybe he can go after their private universities which grant degrees, but no education. (12)
  • Why not go after people in all levels of govt positions with forged degrees or no degrees? Or maybe go after the MoHE&SR which approves sub-standard/no-standard degrees from universities owned by politicians or their friends? (13)
  • Why not go after families, close to him & his party, who filled top positions in all top govt agencies, mostly with no qualifications, pushing qualified Iraqis away? (14)
  • Why not go after the auction of $$ which is a legalized way for well-connected individuals & financiers to make profit at the expense of Iraqis? (15)

    The Iraqi people didn't buy his for-show measures last month and it's doubtful they'll fall for it now.  Jason Ditz (ANTIWAR.COM) observes, "But the longer the protests go, and the longer Abadi fails to offer reforms, the less palatable he’s going to end up being for the eventual coalition government. While there is no obvious consensus alternative to Abadi yet, coalition leaders are likely to find that the domestic costs of keeping Abadi in the post outweigh any foreign policy benefits."

    Rumors swirl that Hayder's being shut out by his own political party.

    If true, Dawaa [Maliki + Abadi wings] has reunited under one banner & made alliance with PMU lead candidate Hadi Al-Ameri to push Sadr out of the game. Maybe the latter's 40 recently published requirements for new PM didn't please many.

    : Sudden Cracks in Abadi Alliance Bolster Ameri’s Chances of Becoming PM

    Justin Raimondo (ANTIWAR.COM) has an important new column and we're going to close with this excerpt from it:

    If you’re paying attention, you’ve probably already heard about the banning from Twitter of anti-interventionist author and former US diplomat Peter van Buren, a whistleblower whose book on the Iraq war exposed the lies at the heart of that devilish enterprise. When van Buren tweeted that his tenure at the State Department required him to lie to reporters, and that the paladins of the Fourth Estate were all too ready to passively record these lies as truth, the Twitter brouhaha took on seismic proportions. Several journalists were involved, attacking van Buren for showing them up, and one – Jonathan M. Katz, supposedly a New York Times writer – reported van Buren to the Twitter Authorities for allegedly threatening “violence.” Van Buren did no such thing: it was a mere pretext to get him banned. And ban him they did – for life. His account was scrubbed: years of informative tweets were erased.
    There were two other casualties in this little Twitter war: our very own Scott Horton, who joined the fray and was suspended for using the “b-word,” and Daniel MacAdams, the director of the Ron Paul Institute, whose “crime” was retweeting Scott’s contribution to the discussion.
    This occurred in tandem with the purge of Alex Jones from Facebook, YouTube, and Apple platforms – an obviously coordinated effort undertaken to make an example of the infamous performance artist masquerading as a conspiracy theorist.
    All this wasn’t good enough for Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), who demanded to know if the plan was to only take down “one web site.” No doubt he has a whole list of sites he’d like to take down. Even more ominously, it was revealed that a direct threat had been made to these companies by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia), who sent out a memo listing all the ways the government could crack down on Big Data if they refuse to go along with cleansing the internet of “divisive” material.
    So much for the “libertarian” argument that these companies and the platforms they run are “private,” and not connected in any way to the governmental Leviathan. This is the kneejerk response of outlets like Reason magazine, but it’s simply not a valid position to take. The Communications Decency Act immunizes these companies against any torts that may arise from activities conducted on their platforms: they can’t be sued or prosecuted for defamation, libel, or indeed for any criminal activity that is generated by these Internet domains. That’s because they claim to be mere “carriers,” like the old phone company, and therefore they can’t be held responsible for conversations, postings, or other online materials that involve illegal or otherwise dubious actors.

    On the other hand, content-providers like Fox News, CNN, and are not so privileged: this site, for example, can be sued or held legally responsible by the authorities for any illegal activities supposedly generated on or by

    The following community sites updated: